The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

The Real Story of Stuxnet

How Kaspersky Lab tracked down the malware that stymied Iran’s nuclear-fuel enrichment program

10 min read
Illustration: Brian Stauffer
Illustration: Brian Stauffer
Red

Computer cables snake across the floor. Cryptic flowcharts are scrawled across various whiteboards adorning the walls. A life-size Batman doll stands in the hall. This office might seem no different than any other geeky workplace, but in fact it's the front line of a war—a cyberwar, where most battles play out not in remote jungles or deserts but in suburban office parks like this one. As a senior researcher for Kaspersky Lab, a leading computer security firm based in Moscow, Roel Schouwenberg spends his days (and many nights) here at the lab's U.S. headquarters in Woburn, Mass., battling the most insidious digital weapons ever, capable of crippling water supplies, power plants, banks, and the very infrastructure that once seemed invulnerable to attack.

Recognition of such threats exploded in June 2010 with the discovery of Stuxnet, a 500-kilobyte computer worm that infected the software of at least 14 industrial sites in Iran, including a uranium-enrichment plant. Although a computer virus relies on an unwitting victim to install it, a worm spreads on its own, often over a computer network.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Make IEEE Your Home Base

The association offers networking opportunities and professional development programs

3 min read
group of young people smiling at the camera

These IEEE members connected with each other at this year's IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, held in London.

IEEE

The word home evokes a sense of belonging and welcoming. IEEE aims to create a similar feeling by offering services for members at every stage of their career and by building a community among them.

IEEE President and CEO K.J. Ray Liu is committed to making IEEE the professional home for members. As he announced in his March column in The Institute, he’s doing that by “examining ways in which the organization could evolve to best meet the needs of all technical professionals in the years ahead.”

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Home Heating With Hydrogen: Ill-Advised as it Sounds

Several studies reveal serious drawbacks

3 min read
Two white boilers mounted on a wood wall, with pipes and tubes.

An old central heating boiler (L) and a hydrogen boiler inside the Hydrogen Experience Center in the Netherlands.

Sem van der Wal/ANP/Getty Images

Hydrogen, if it comes from splitting water with renewable electricity, has its role as a climate-friendly energy source. It could help decarbonize challenging sectors like heavy industry, shipping, and aviation.

But hydrogen makes absolutely no sense for heating homes and buildings, according to a new review of several international studies. It is simply much too expensive and inefficient for that purpose, says Jan Rosenow, Europe director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, an energy think tank in Brussels, who authored the commentary published in the journal Joule.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Government’s Role in Further Developing 5G Technologies and Future Networks

Learn about the impact of federally funded research on national security and the overall economy

1 min read
Anritsu

Similar to 5G, many key technology developments have been supported by government funding and institutions for years. Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) have been foundational elements of this government support.

This webinar will examine the impact this research has had on national security and the overall economy. It will also discuss how these institutions have made use of testing to attain these security and economic goals. Finally, it will look at how these resources can continue to be leveraged in the further development of 5G technologies and beyond for future networks.

Register now for this webinar!

Keep Reading ↓Show less